Cashed up Titan set to drill its Dynasty Gold project
June was a busy month for Titan Minerals Limited (ASX:TTM). The company raised $12 million through an oversubscribed placement, and with capital raised from a share purchase plan (SPP) and directors support, the group should enter fiscal 2021 with a $14.5 million war chest.
Funds raised under the placement and SPP will be applied to progressing Titan’s Ecuadorian gold projects, as well as working capital.
Titan is an exploration and development company focused on exploring and developing potential tier one projects in Ecuador’s southern Andean copper-gold belt. It is also operator of a gold treatment business in a well-established mining region of Southern Peru.
A centralised processing plant produces loaded carbon from a CIP gold circuit, with feed previously averaging 17 to 24 g/t gold head grades sourced from licensed third-party operators.
The company’s flagship asset is the Dynasty Gold Project that consists of a mineral resource estimate of 2.1 million ounces at 4.5g/t gold (NI 43-101).
Titan’s strategy is to conduct a high-impact drilling campaign across Dynasty and deliver a JORC resource during the December quarter of 2020.
Coupled with an ongoing logging and sampling program, this drilling should enable the company to quickly convert the substantial NI 43-101 Resource (Canadian Resource) to a JORC Compliant Resource.
Funds from the capital raising will also be used to commence exploration activities at the highly prospective Copper Duke Project, including airborne geophysical surveys for high resolution magnetic coverage and surface sampling programs.
Dynasty hosts near surface high-grade mineralisation
The Dynasty Gold Project has a rich history of exploration which culminated in the establishment of a 2.1 million ounce gold resource (average 4.5 g/t gold) based on foreign resource estimates.
The company plans to establish a JORC Compliant Resource following upcoming exploration activities.
Dynasty is located in the Loja Province of southern Ecuador, and the drill-ready project is comprised of five concessions totalling nearly 140 square kilometres, including three concessions that received an Environmental Authorisation in early 2016 which are fully permitted for exploration and small-scale mining.
Nearly 27,000 metres across 201 holes has been drilled with some of the better intercepts including 8.5 metres at 13.9 g/t gold from 97 metres and 12 metres at 5 g/t gold from 115 metres.
As indicated below, a 9 kilometre long outcropping vein swarm corridor with extensive high-grade gold assay results has been identified in surface rock chip and trench sampling that is only partially drill tested at its extents.
Approximately 95% of mineralised drill intercepts are within 100 metres of surface and a five kilometre drill gap on the mineralised corridor remains to be assessed.
Titan has conducted a reconciliation of the historic operations of mining through to 31 December, 2018.
Where an initial three veins in the resource estimation were developed, small-scale mining produced gold from several other veins not intersected in previous drilling at the Cerro Verde prospect area, and not included in the current foreign resource estimation (blind veins).
Titan found 40% more gold was extracted from the same volumes in the foreign resource estimate, where 69% more tonnes were mined versus the resource estimate, at 15% lower grade.
The additional density of high-grade veining in combination with indications of low-grade aureoles around veins and vein intersections indicate bulk tonnage potential of the resource in the Cerro Verde prospect area.
Consequently, this prospect could be developed as a low-cost project.
Historical data offers Titan an edge at Copper Duke
Another potentially lost cost project is Copper Duke.
Historically, modern exploration commenced at Copper Duke with an extensive stream sediment geochemistry initiated by the United Nations in 1968.
A follow-up program in the early 1970s was completed by the UN and referred to as ‘Operation 8’, with the objective to define copper and molybdenum anomalies.
Several anomalies were identified and follow-up work on multiple targets included the zone now referred to as the El Huato anomaly which is featured on the following map.
Subsequent geophysical surveys generated three anomalies reportedly correlating with surface geochemistry within the Copper Duke Project, including a coincident anomaly with the El Huato geochemistry anomaly.
The UN survey reports located to date do not include detailed results of IP or geochemistry datasets and raw datasets or other public domain source for those surveys have not been identified.
In 1978 a diamond drilling programme was completed and comprised of two diamond holes drilled from the same platform, one vertical and the other inclined.
The program was completed based on an earlier recommendation to complete a maiden drill test of four holes on the three IP/Geochemical targets within the Copper Duke area.
A UN report summarised petrographic studies and assay results for gold, silver, copper and molybdenum analyses of the recovered core.
Two holes were completed at one target from a single drill pad, with the other two targets remaining untested.
The two diamond holes completed in 1978 totalled 440 metres within the Copper Duke Project area.
As indicated below, in the vertical hole SON-01, only the first 53.7 metres of the 220 metre hole was analysed for gold and silver, and in SON-02 only the first 62.75 metres was analysed for gold.
However, the samples were impressive, returning 33.1 metres at 2.5 g/t gold and 154 ppm copper from 9 metres.
Another sample featured 45.4 metres at 1.9 g/t gold and 168 ppm copper surface.
More recent results indicated the presence of widespread high-grade gold mineralisation hosted in quartz veining, ranging from 174 g/t gold to 0.1 g/t gold and from 249 g/t silver to 0.1 g/t silver.
Peak assay results from representative channel sampling work included 61.5 g/t gold, 5.1 g/t silver and 0.2% copper over a width of 3.9 metres.
The presence of near surface mineralisation suggests upfront capital expenditure could be relatively low, and if such a prospect were brought into production all in sustaining costs (AISC) may be extremely low because of easy access to the ore, as well as the copper credits received being offset against production costs.
With pandemic restrictions now easing, Titan is well-placed to begin its program of works at both Dynasty and Copper Duke, with plenty of news expected from mid-July onwards.